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Recent Publications

“Nine Strange Medical Facts”

Dec 01, 2019

Medical facts can be stranger than fiction, as evidenced by the following examples. The human body has incredible regenerative powers. Reportedly, your entire brain replaces itself every 2 months; your liver, every 6 weeks; and your epidermis, every 35 days. Even your stomach lining replaces itself every 3 to 4 days. If your body didn’t do this, the strong acids used by your stomach to digest food would also digest your stomach! Your stomach acids are so strong that they can dissolve razor blades. Babies are born with about 300 bones, but by the time they reach adulthood, these bones will have fused together to form 206 bones. Babies are born with more cartilage than bone. The children of identical twins are genetically siblings rather than cousins? This is because they share 25% of their DNA. Full siblings share 50% of their DNA, half-siblings share 25%, and cousins share 12.5%. Thus, they are the genetic equivalent of half-siblings. Having a good cry really is good for you. The tears you shed when you cry contain stress hormones and crying itself may actually stimulate the production of endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—as well as feel-good hormones such as oxytocin. The human nose can remember 50,000 different scents, and experts say that the memories evoked by our sense of smell are some of the oldest and most potent we have.

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“Are ‘Magic Health Numbers’ Accurate ?”

Nov 24, 2019

Many authors quote “magic health numbers” as being highly recommended and your goal for good overall health. Numbers like “10,000 steps per day,” “eight glasses of water a day,” and “three cups of coffee a day,” are examples we hear all the time. But, are they really accurate or meaningful numbers? Let’s start with “10,000 steps per day,” which is almost five miles. For many years, walking 10,000 steps per day has been considered the “magic” number for optimal health. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine recently published results from an observational Women’s Health Study focused on whether increased steps per day are associated with lower mortality rates among older women. The study found that participants who walked as few as 4,400 steps per day experienced lower mortality rates when compared to participants who walked 2,700 steps per day. And, the more steps participants took per day, the more their mortality rates dropped. However, the study showed that mortality rates leveled off at 7,500 steps, meaning that study participants who walked more did not have significantly lower mortality rates.

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“How To Possibly Reduce Hangover Symptoms”

Nov 17, 2019

Alcohol consumption will increase with the upcoming holiday season. But, no one should be pushing and condoning the consumption of alcohol. Any reduction in alcohol consumption will lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Still, the alcohol industry is a commanding lobbying and marketing powerhouse. However, study after study is pointing to alcohol as being a cause of a variety of cancers and the debunking of its reported heart and cardiovascular benefits. Men should drink no more than women and remember that any amount of alcohol increases the risk of developing a range of cancers. Epidemiologic evidence supports a causal association of alcohol consumption and cancers of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and female breast. Also, there is “accumulating research” supporting a causal contribution of alcohol to other cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas, prostate, and skin (melanoma). But by far, the most common effect of alcohol consumption is the “hangover.” No two hangovers are alike, which helps explain why finding a cure for a hangover is so difficult. Hangover symptoms include symptoms of fatigue, thirst, drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, nausea, apathy, reduced alertness, sensitivity to noise and light, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Here are a few potential hangover remedies that have at least some scientific research to back them up.

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“Pets Can Keep You Healthy”

Oct 20, 2019

Overall, we Americans love our pets. Four million own dogs. Seven million own cats. Five million own freshwater fish. Seven million own birds. Four million own small animals. Five million own reptiles. Six million each own horses or saltwater fish. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), most US households (67%) own a pet. But most people do not realize that your doggy, or your lazy cat, or your fish are good for your health. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is furry, feathered or scaly, they all seem to be good for you. Pets enrich our lives and improve our health in ways that we probably haven’t ever considered. Here are just some of the health benefits you could reap from pet ownership. Reduced cardiovascular risks. In May 2013, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific statement declaring an association between pet ownership and lower risk factors for heart disease as well as longer life. Results from three AHA studies validate this association and dog ownership was associated with an increased likelihood of longer life, particularly among people who experienced a previous myocardial infarction or stroke. Two of these studies provided good, quality data indicating dog ownership is associated with reduced cardiac and all-cause mortality. Increased longevity. In the second of the more recent AHA studies, researchers analyzed data from over 3.8 million participants, and found that dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of all-cause early mortality, a 65% reduced risk of death after myocardial infarction, and a 31% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality in general. Better blood pressure control.

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“Top Ten Deadliest Diseases Worldwide”

Oct 13, 2019

In this ole’ world, if an accident doesn’t get you, one of these diseases may well. Number one – Coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is responsible for 15.5% of all deaths worldwide, with 8.8 million deaths in 2015. The good news is that mortality rates have gone down in the United States and many European countries, but the bad news is that deaths due to CAD are rising in many developing nations. Risk factors for CAD include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, diabetes, overweight and obesity, and family history. Number Two – Stroke. Stroke was responsible for 6.2 million deaths in 2015, accounting for 11.1% of deaths worldwide. Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability. Diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, and obesity are the leading causes of stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, family history of stroke, smoking (especially when combined with oral contraceptives), African American race, and female sex. Number Three – Lower respiratory infections. Flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis are lower respiratory infections, and comprise 5.7% of deaths worldwide. Viruses are the main cause of these infections, but bacteria are implicated as well. Risk factors include the flu, poor air quality, frequent exposure to respiratory irritants, smoking, asthma, HIV, immunocompromised status, and crowded childcare settings.  Open the article to see the remaining “top ten.”

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“Good Foods For When You’re Sick”

Sep 22, 2019

Colds and flu season are headed our way. Colds and other illnesses are more prevalent during the fall and winter months because viruses thrive when temperatures range from 50° F to 30° F. With this in mind, it’s best to prepare early. The following are some of the best foods to eat when you’re sick: 1) Chicken soup; 2) Citrus fruits; 3) Popsicles; 4) Garlic; and 5) Bananas.  Please see my full article for the reasons why.

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“Smarter Ways To Lose Weight”

Sep 08, 2019

Countless weight-loss plans pushing diets, potions, and devices have been marketed to the overweight population. Still, only an estimated 1% to 3% of dieters end up losing weight and keeping it off. Do not fall for false advertising as regards pills, supplements, herbal drinks, patches, and creams. Remember, the Food and Drug Administration does not necessarily review these products for safety and effectiveness. The simple truth is that there is only one legitimate plan for weight loss: Decrease your calorie intake and increase your activity level. With weight loss, total calorie expenditure must exceed calorie consumption. At the expense of fat, many low-fat and reduced-fat foods contain high amounts of high-calorie sugar. Look at the labels to cut back on both fat and sugar. And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says there is nothing you can wear or apply externally that will lead to weight loss. Although there are prescribed medications to help patients lose weight, over-the-counter, ineffective, unlicensed weight loss pills abound. Weight loss requires more than exercise. A common saying is, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Please remember that exercise is usually followed by hunger. So, combine exercise with a healthy lifestyle. Slow weight loss can be sustainable but rapid weight loss will frequently “yo-yo.” A one to two pound a week loss is recommended. Pushing yourself until you collapse is unwise and so is harboring a feeling of guilt from slow loss of pounds. Do not confuse pain with progress and always exercise in a safe manner. Gyms and trainers are flooded with offers from manufacturers to pitch vitamins, shakes and exercise equipment.

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“Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Yields Great News for Alzheimer’s Patient”

Sep 01, 2019

In January of 2019, Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Dr. Edward Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, report the first PET scan-documented case of improvement in brain metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease in a patient treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Great news because a new case is diagnosed every 70 seconds! The authors report the case of a 58-year-old female who had experienced five years of cognitive decline, which began accelerating rapidly. Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) suggested Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis was confirmed by positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging. The patient underwent a total of 40 HBOT treatments — five days a week over 66 days. Each treatment consisted of 1.15 atmosphere absolute/50 minutes total treatment time. After 21 treatments, the patient reported increased energy and level of activity, better mood and ability to perform daily living activities as well as work crossword puzzles. After 40 treatments, she reported increased memory and concentration, sleep, conversation, appetite, ability to use the computer, more good days (5/7) than bad days, resolved anxiety, and decreased disorientation and frustration. Tremor, deep knee bend, tandem gain, and motor speed were also improved.

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“Misdiagnosed Illnesses are Fairly Common”

Aug 18, 2019

The idea of a misdiagnosed disease can terrify a physician and give him nightmares concerning a malpractice lawsuit. Some diseases and conditions are more difficult to diagnose than others. While the overall rate of diagnostic error is reliably estimated at around five percent, these illnesses are much easier to miss or to misdiagnosis.  As such, it is extremely important for patients to seek a second medical opinion to confirm them.  However, the error seems remarkably common, with some estimates pegging misdiagnoses among 12 million Americans, or 1 in every 20 patients, each year.  Because it is an illness that can present common symptoms, cancer is the most misdiagnosed disease.  According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, doctors may miss or misdiagnose certain types of cancer up to 44 percent of the time.  Heart attacks often are mistaken for anxiety or indigestion and a cardiac episode can be deadly without timely treatment.  Patients should insist on a second medical opinion if they have any doubts or questions about their heart health.

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“Eye Floaters Are A Common Problem”

Aug 11, 2019

Eye floaters are dots or specks in a person’s vision that seem to float away when the person tries to look directly at them. Eye floaters are a normal part of the aging process. The American Society of Retina Specialists note that conditions such as vitreous detachment, which causes more floaters, are more common after the age of 60. Everyone can get eye floaters at some point, though most people ignore them. It seems as though everyone gets them, but they are rarely a cause for alarm. But in some rare cases they can indicate a more serious condition. Many people think eye floaters are simply dust that gets in your eyes, but this is not the case. This is because they move when your eye moves. The main symptoms of eye floaters are small areas in a person’s field of vision that seem out of place. Floaters can take different shapes. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are called floaters. Floaters are tiny but can significantly affect the vision, as they are very close to the input of the eye. One characteristic of eye floaters is that they seem to dart back and forth across the field of vision. Trying to look directly at a floater will cause it to move away in the direction the person looks. When the person rests their eyes, the floaters seem to drift on their own. Eye floaters do not usually require treatment, as they themselves do not cause any harm to the sight.

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